Jon Rahm is ‘thankful’ for LIV Golf, says 2022 wasn’t a bad year for the sport
Sometimes, shaking up the establishment can be good.
Jon Rahm has never backed down from expressing his “fealty” to the PGA Tour, but his disdain for LIV Golf might not match some of his fellow Tour loyalists.
“I think on this side of things we should be thankful that LIV happened,” Rahm said Wednesday at the Hero World Challenge. “I don’t know if those changes would have happened if LIV wasn’t in the picture. So to an extent, yeah, we should be thankful.”
In the wake of LIV poaching players for large sums of guaranteed money and a limited schedule, the Tour responded in August with an extensive overhaul of its schedule and how players are compensated.
Jay Monahan announced 12 tournaments will be moved to “elevated” status, starting with the 2022-23 season, and those events will boast an average purse of $20 million. Plus, the Tour also expanded the Player Impact Program to the top 20 with a bonus pool of $100 million, up from $50 million.
Rahm finished fifth this year in the PIP ranking, but when it comes to golf, money isn’t a motivator.
“If you play good, you’re going to end up making money and be able to take care of yourself,” the 28-year-old Spaniard said. “It’s not why I started playing, it’s not the reason why I play. So when I’m doing my schedule, when I’m practicing and I’m getting my things done, money is not really on my mind. If it was, I probably might have gone to LIV, right? If money is your goal, that’s clearly the path to go down. Every decision I make when it comes to golf is to become the best player I can become.”
Many players chose money over legacy this year, creating a fracture in the sport like never before.
“I think this whole year, it’s a year we didn’t expect to have happen for, as I said, the animosity, the angst and then the players leaving and then the way they showed their disregard or disrespect to the Tour that helped them get to that point,” Tiger Woods said Tuesday. “A lot of things I certainly don’t like about it and there’s certain players that are very up front with it and have declared it and I respect them for that.
“But there’s also a flip side to that, too, that I thought was a little bit on the tasteless side.”
However, amid all the tension in golf that stems from the past year, Rahm wants cooler heads to prevail.
“I just hope the negative … the animosity goes away. I don’t think there needs to be a lawsuit, I don’t think each side needs to be saying anything negative about each other. If you want to try to co-exist, LIV can do their thing and the PGA Tour can do their thing.
Yet, after maybe the most contentious year in professional golf history, the world No. 5 is bullish about the Tour’s future.
“I don’t think it was a bad year for golf,” Rahm said. “Yes, there’s certain division, but I think we’re moving forward. I think the fans are getting, however you want to look at it on one side or the other, you’re getting a different product. Change can always be exciting.”